Musings and Mirth

NY Times Doesn’t Post My Comment for the First Time Ever – Maureen Dowd Must Not Really Like Criticism

In today’s New York Times column, Maureen Dowd continues her obsession with attention by blaming Obama for not having stood up to the Republicans the way the “limousine liberals” wanted him to do. Funny, because over there on the right they are accusing Obama of being too combatant, too resistant to reaching across the aisle. So Obama is caught between two ideals – he didn’t fit into Dowd’s projection of who he should be (she absolutely misses what he’s great at and will thus have to remain on the wrong side of history for the next 100 years as we look back) and he was someone who had no ability to work with the right.

Dowd’s columns on Obama are not about Obama at all: they’re about her. Just like her (more interesting and useful) columns on Romney and Ryan are about her.  But this year there is more at stake, the President is a lot more popular than she seems to realize and thus her take-down piece on Obama’s convention speech (grasping at straws, really – Obama doesn’t lie so how do you attack someone like that?) feels woefully out of touch. And so we are left with Dowd’s narcissism.  Invoking that work, I think, is what prevented the NY Times from posting my non-abusive criticism of Dowd herself; needing to write a nasty piece about Obama reveals in her the need to be seen as a certain kind of journalist, one who will get in the ring of a cockfight and take on whomever she happens to face.  That is dangerous, particularly for the New York Times and particularly for Dowd.  Nastiness for the sake of nastiness is ultimately useless and truly evidence only of a narcissistic writer.  Were she writing a truthful piece about Obama she would have to betray her street fred. And we can’t have that.

Why she would want to continually dog a President, all because he didn’t pay her enough attention when they were stuck on a plane somewhere, or a train somewhere, or a who gives a fuck somewhere, she has decided that he isn’t Bill Clinton — and therefore is worth piling on. At this point, Dowd, who has gained a reputation for being one of the best writers in the business, is about to nestle herself into the annals of history alongside other writers who simply didn’t get it. A great editorialist reads the take accurately. Dowd’s reading of Obama’s convention speech was a misreading of a powerful moment in US history.  Note how she refuses to praise the great speeches of the convention, oh maybe Bill Clinton, but not even Michelle Obama. That was a gross misread of the event. Instead it had to be about Dowd who doesn’t take sides, Dowd who finds something mean to say about everyone who deserves it, Dowd who stands up for us (don’t speak for me, lady) and yet this was her least finest hour.  She has to be the scrappy, starving dog searching for a piece of meat she can pick up with her teeth.  And there weren’t many of those lying around.  In the end it was like seeing a double rainbow and complaining that someone left a bit of dogshit on the ground.

Instead of allowing a commenter like me, who can fight fire with fire – match Dowd’s nasty sarcasm – the comment is simply not approved.  As a blog owner I reserve the right to delete or not publish comments I deem too nasty.  I would never condemn the NY Times, particularly, for not publishing comments they felt crossed the line.  In other words, I can dig it. But I think it was an overreaction. Also, if you can’t handle the heat, Ms. Dowd, time to get out of the kitchen.

I used to call Dowd my favorite writer, someone I wanted to emulate. But she has proved, with this column, that her thinking is greatly limited by her narcissism.  And it’s greatly limited by her upbringing and her character. He failure to get what the majority of Americans easily get reveals the weaknesses in her own outlook. And what a shame that is.

I may have to stop reading Dowd, because when she writes about the guy who is going to go down as one of the ten greatest Presidents the country has known, it will be like watching a car with three wheels clattering lamely down the road.

TIME Mag Fox Newses themselves into the Grand Tradition of Sexism with its Latest Cover

I was so disgusted when I saw the cover of TIME – meant only to shock and provoke – that it has brought me out of my semi-retirement from this blog.  Boy, kind of thought this was a thing of the past, but lo! Our grotesque patriarchal society is alive and well and seeking to repress and oppress women.  This, the same election season where (yet more hysterical) Republicans are waging a war on women, TIME decides to take a side in the parenting/breastfeeding debate.  Should you or shouldn’t you, how long should you?

Those of us who adopted the theory of Attachment Parenting, which is a way of rearing children that shuns the modern theories (all written and promoted by men, mind you, seeking to take all of the power away from women – the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and don’t forget it) and gives everything back to the mother (and the father, if they can dig it).  That means co-sleeping, breastfeeding not just for food but for comfort  and it means holding your kid a lot more than keeping them away from you – in a crib in a dark room by themselves and left to “cry it out,” or alone in their stroller and made to cry it out.  When a baby, still mostly reptilian, reaches out to be held, it is the notion of our society that you would spoil that baby if you picked him or her up.  What could more silly?

We evolved to drink water when we were thirsty, to eat when we’re hungry, to seek out others when we’re lonely and yes, babies evolved to want to be held.  They need to be held.

Okay, so some attachment parents use child-led weaning; they allow the baby to nurse until they’re ready to let go of it – that they are secure enough so that they no longer need the COMFORT.  I stopped my child nursing after 2 1/2 years.  I’d had enough and she was fine. She transferred to water and is now a healthy, independent, thoughtful, secure 13 year-old.  Watching my daughter evolve into the truly wonderful person she is today makes me completely sold on Attachment Parenting.  For life.

But what TIME did was shake a stick at a rattle snake. They tried to gross out the American population with the notion of a “big kid” – he looks, like, 8 – still sucking on the boob.  The mom stands there with a “so what!” look on her face and society is put in the position of judging. And judge they do. The comments range from “you’re going to raise a Norman Bates” to “you’ve humiliated that kid for life.” No one looks at it and feels supportive of it – why, because TIME deliberately manipulated and misrepresented what Attachment Parenting is – and it is the most irresponsible thing I’ve ever seen them do.

And in the end it always comes back to blaming the mother.  Blame the mom because she is warping society with her sick little ways of wanting to nurse way too long. Blame the mom because she didn’t nurse long enough.

The fact is that every woman SHOULD breast feed if they can. If they can’t, so be it. It is less a “choice” as it is a necessity for the child — remember, the desire to formula feed babies was mostly born out of the need to sell formula.  Far more horrifying than the TIME magazine cover was Jennifer Lopez popping out two accessory twins and announcing that she wasn’t going to breast feed them.  That was it for her. She had to get back to becoming more famous than anyone ought to be — it’s hard to imagine why she had kids at all. Yet no one really cares about that because the patriarchy has been preserved; J. Lo exists for the pleasure of men, mostly, and for women who long to look like her.  The TIME magazine cover is a way of yet again slapping women down and robbing them of the one thing they truly do control: food for babies.

I may never pick up another issue of TIME again.

Pink Slime – an Unimaginable Horror

Just read the simple description from the Washington Post and marinate in how far we’ve come as a nation and how disgusting we are as a people.  We really want our food THAT cheap?

Though the term “pink slime” has been used pejoratively for at least several years, it wasn’t until last week that social media suddenly exploded with worry and an online petition seeking its ouster from schools lit up, quickly garnering hundreds of thousands of supporters.

The low-cost ingredient is made from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts. The bits are heated to about 100 F and spun to remove most of the fat. The lean mix then is compressed into blocks for use in ground meat. The product, made by South Dakota-based Beef Products Inc., also is exposed to “a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas” to kill bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.

read more…

Facebook = Life Ruiner

After dwelling on the pages of Facebook for a while now I’m mostly convinced it’s a life-ruiner in all respects.  You have to see, on a daily basis, all of the things you were never meant to see.  It’s sort of like finding the secrets to life after death, or discovering the awful truth about Santa Claus.  There are just some truths you really don’t need to know.

It’s strange that, for instance, you have to know the whereabouts of all of the people you’ve ever known in your life.

It’s strange that, when people die, their Facebook pages stay up.  People write on them as a kind of floating memorial.  And Facebook helpfully suggests you friend a friend of a friend who is dead. The online person, the Facebook person, lives on.  The real body goes. So now we have the body, the soul and the Facebook identity.  It’s weird, isn’t it?  It’s different elsewhere online because Facebook is the only place where you are confronted with everyone you’ve ever known, all of your family, and the people you’re networked with, as well as just random strangers.  Who you are on Facebook is now part of who you are period.  And it’s freaky.

The first weird thing that happened to me recently was that a fried of mine from my childhood friended me then got frustrated when that magical relationship we were supposed to have wasn’t rekindled.  I’m busy, yo.  And so she wrote on my page, “too stuck up.” So I unfriended her, just like that.  And harmony was restored in my life. She was one less ghost from my past I had to worry about.

But the thing I hate most about Facebook is the way people torment each other.  They use status updates to taunt their successes — my daughter’s friends in middle school all flaunted and taunted with the various high schools they were accepted into.  Like just being able to do that on Facebook was the key. It’s a little puddle of ego and narcissism where that shit can fly around virtually unchecked.

When you have a relationship you change your status update and then break up via status update and everyone has to know about it. Well, that’s one thing. What’s worse is if you happen to hook up with an asshole who then pretends you don’t exist and never changes that relationship status.  So then you have to see how little you matter on a daily basis.  Worse, you have to watch that person actively flirt on their own profile page.   Or if you get dumped you have to watch that person flaunt their latest exploits with dumb, show-offy pictures.  One guy I know only reflects himself as someone who would attract only pretty girls and thus, every picture that is associates with his online persona is some kind of idealized beauty; none of the women he actually dates ever appear because that would then lower his status online.

So what is the good Facebook has to offer? I don’t really know.  To me I use it mostly for work but I hate this notion of everyone knowing every little piece of my business.  It’s weirds me out on every level.  I worry for the generations that are growing up with this idea that you have your regular life and then you have a Facebook identity to cultivate.  Everything you do has a societal echo that passes praise, likes, judgements…everyone puts on  a fake happy face, like here are all of the good times I’m having that you aren’t having. Here is my great marriage that you don’t have. I don’t know how I would have survived with the added dimension of Facebook.

I just don’t think we ever really stopped to think about what the longterm effects of something like this might be.  Oh well.  There are surely worse thing in life.  For now, though, I’m practicing disassociation.

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About Me

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